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Nominated Articles and Essays

Anne Verplanck , "The Silhouette and Quaker Identity in Early National Philadelphia," Winterthur Portfolio 43:1 (Spring 2009), 41-78.

In early national Philadelphia, portrait patronage and production were rooted in the meanings that portraits had for specific groups, meanings that were connected to social, economic, religious, and political conditions. Elite Philadelphia-area Quakers used silhouettes to distinguish themselves from non-Quakers; reinforce bonds of kinship, friendship, and community at a time of internal and external challenges (particularly the Orthodox-Hicksite schism); and preserve and
interpret their roles in early national history. By collecting their eminent ancestors and their cohorts—and binding them with themselves and their kin in albums—Quakers connected themselves to these individuals, their accomplishments, and their characters.

Colin B. Bailey, "Looking Closely at Renoir's La Parisienne,” in Turner to Cézanne: Masterpieces from the Davies Collection National Museum Wales, American Federation of Arts, 2009, pp.30-37.

Article appears in exhibition catalogue "Turner to Cézanne: Masterpieces from the Davies Collection National Museum Wales", AFA, 2009, pp.30-37. The catalogue accompanies a touring exhibition of the Davies Collection.

American Federation of Arts (

Emily Braun, "Skinning the Paint,” in Paint Made Flesh, Nashville: Vanderbilt University Press, 2009.

"Skinning the Paint” considers works by Francis Bacon, Lucien Freud, and Frank Auerbach and their legacy in the paintings of Jenny Saville and Cecily Brown. The title plays on the dual meaning of the word skinning: it refers to stripping the skin or surface but also to the process of forming new layers of epidermis through vivifying strokes that coalesce into illusions of flesh. The metaphor is extended when we consider that one skinning apparatus is the knife, which several of the artists use to scrape, smooth, make scabrous and sentient, the pictorial membrane. Beyond the formal and thematic characteristics unifying these painters, this essay considers the peculiarly British attitude toward displayed flesh – unsparing, pragmatic, and sometimes pornographic. No other national school since WWII has so focused on the body as the subject for the modernist explorations of the inherent qualities of the pictorial medium, encouraging reconsideration of the identification of high modernism with pure abstraction.

Emily J. Peters, "Systems and Swells: The Collective Lineage of Engraved Lines, 1480-1650," in The Brilliant Line: Following the Early Modern Engraver, 1480-1650 (2009), Museum of Art, Rhode Island School of Design.

Lauren Lessing and Mary Schafer, "Unveiling Raphaelle Peale’s Venus Rising from the Sea – A Deception” in Winterthur Portfolio.

New technical information uncovered by conservator Mary Schafer has revealed an earlier, unfinished composition beneath the margins of Raphaelle Peale’s circa 1822 trompe l’oeil painting "Venus Rising from the Sea—a Deception.” The earlier version of the painting featured a partial copy of Charles Willson Peale’s 1817 portrait of Raphaelle seemingly concealed behind the same white kerchief that now appears to hide a copy of James Barry’s 1772 painting "The Birth of Venus.” Schafer and art historian Lauren Lessing reinterpret Peale’s painting in light of these findings, describing its complex nature as both a physical object and a dark visual joke.

Mark Rosenthal, "William Kentridge: Five Themes,” San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, Norton Museum, Yale University Press.

Rosenthal's essay offers an authoritative picture of Kentridge’s practice as it has developed over time. He presents a portrait of the artist, showing that each of the characters that populate his work represents an aspect of Kentridge himself.

Marybeth De Filippis, "Margrieta van Varick's 'East Indian' goods: A possible influence on colonial American silver," The Magazine ANTIQUES, vol. 176, no. 3 (September, 2009).

At the time of her death in 1695 in the bucolic village of Flatbush, New York, the textile merchant Margrieta van Varick possessed an astonishing array of goods from around the world. An exploration of Margrieta’s life, the rare inventory of her household and shop, and how she came to own these exotic goods is the subject of Dutch New York Between East and West: the World of Margrieta van Varick, the Fall 2009 collaboration between the New-York Historical Society and the Bard Graduate Center.
Amid the more than 2,000 objects in Margrieta’s inventory were eleven objects classified as ‘East Indian’ silver. While the exhibition and catalogue introduce this category of silver, this article more fully explores its probable influence on colonial American silver, and illuminates manifestations such as the Islamic art and architectural motifs found on objects hallmarked by Margrieta’s son-in-law, master goldsmith Peter van Dyck.

Keith Christiansen, "The Genius of Andrea Mantegna,” The Metropolitan Museum of Art.

This essay is a distillation of the author's twenty years of research on the artist Andrea Mantegna and his place within the humanist and artistic culture of the fifteenth century. It focuses on paintings and prints in the collections of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, and succeeds in making this notoriously difficult artist more accessible to a larger audience.

Nancy Mathews, "Prendergast in Italy" in Prendergast in Italy, Merrell Publishers, Ltd.

Taking Maurice Prendergast's two trips to Italy (1898-9 and 1911) as its focus, this book explores the international significance of Italy and Venice in particular to modern art. Essays explore Prendergast's response to modern Italy, his experimental monotypes, travel literature, 19th century response to Carpaccio as a realist, the early history of the Venice Biennale, and Prendergast's elegaic second trip. Also included is a map of Prendergast's sites in Venice and a catalogue raisonné of Prendergast's Italian works.

Philip K. Hu, "Sail Returning from Distant Shore: Chinese Themes and Styles on Japanese Folding Screens," in Beyond Golden Clouds: Japanese Screens from the Art Institute of Chicago and the Saint Louis Art Museum, edited by Janice Katz (Chicago: The Art Institute of Chicago; St. Louis: Saint Louis Art Museum, 2009), pp. 57 - 71.

The catalogue accompanies a special exhibition of Japanese screens (ranging from the mid-16th century through the late 20th century) from the collections of the Art Institute of Chicago and the Saint Louis Art Museum (shown at the the Art Institute of Chicago, June 26–September 27, 2009, and at the Saint Louis Art Museum, October 18, 2009–January 3, 2010). It includes four major essays by Janice Katz, Tamamushi Satoko, Philip K. Hu, and Alicia Volk, as well as full-length catalogue entries on the 32 works of art in the exhibition. My essay explores the complex ways in which numerous Chinese themes and styles were adopted by Japanese artists on screen paintings over a four-hundred-year period from the 1560s through 1969, focusing on examples from the exhibition but illustrating other works from important collections in China, Japan, and the United States.

Walter Liedtke, "The Milkmaid by Johannes Vermeer,” in "Vermeer’s Masterpiece The Milkmaid,” Metropolitan Museum of Art.

This is a 36-page catalogue for the exhibition "Vermeer's Masterpiece The Milkmaid" seen at The Metropolitan Museum of Art Sept 9 thru Nov 29, 2009. Pages 5-24 comprise an original essay on the style, meaning, and past owners of "The Milkmaid" (Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam). There are also 12 brief catalogue entries for the dozen Met paintings (5 Vermeers and 7 other Dutch pictures) but the essay is the essence of the publication and my submission.

Will South, "A Missing Question Mark: The Unknown Henry Ossawa Tanner,” Nineteenth-Century Art Worldwide: A Journal of Nineteenth-Century Visual Culture.

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This article examines Henry Ossawa Tanner’s complex sense of his own racial identity. Tanner’s conflict was born of the fact that in his personal adult life he walked a fragile line between his whiteness and his blackness; in France, he systematically worked to remove race from the equation of his life. This article also identifies for the first time the source of his best-known painting, The Banjo Lesson.

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